Real money seized from three men accused of passing counterfeit bills around Edwardsville businesses may now belong to the county, according to court filings.
Three men were arrested after multiple reports of counterfeit $100 bills at Edwardsville businesses in late March. The first call came from clothier Maurice’s, with subsequent calls from other businesses. Police stopped Mervin Green, 26, and two companions, Michael Williams and Mark Armstrong, both 22, and charged them with passing fake money.
Lt. Charles Kohlberg of the Edwardsville Police Department said the two younger men would go into a business with a phony $100 and buy something.
“They made small purchases with the money in order to get change in real currency,” Kohlberg said. Then Green would pay them $20 for every fake $100 bill passed, he said. Court documents showed they were suspected of passing fake money at Texas Roadhouse restaurant, Crazy Bowls and Wraps, Kohl’s department store, Wal-mart and Famous Footwear.
A search of the Chicago rental car they were driving yielded $1,760 in real currency. A search of Green’s person after arrest uncovered another $1,800, according to court documents. The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed to keep the funds, alleging that the men could provide no legitimate source for the money. The courts have ruled that they have probable cause to keep it.
Kohlberg said it is an ongoing investigation. “It’s not known if there were others involved; we are still looking for potential other suspects,” he said. It was not immediately known where the men allegedly acquired the fake $100 bills, he said.
All three men each face one count of money laundering, a Class 3 felony; and four counts of forgery, also a Class 3 felony. Green is set to stand trial before a jury on June 1, while Armstrong will stand trial on June 15. Williams’ next court date is Sept. 8.
Each faces a sentence ranging from probation to two to five years in prison on the felony counts.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2507.